• Erika Heller of Oneonta, N.Y., said her brother-in-law -- former firefighter John Heller, who died after rescuing his fiancee and his four young nephews when they were trapped in his burning third-floor apartment -- gave his life "because he was saving my children and the love of his life."
• Brandon Engham, 31, of Vacherie, La., caught illegally selling 10 pounds of wild deer sausage for $60 to an undercover wildlife agent before he fled and led officers on a high-speed chase that ended in a crash, was sentenced to five years' probation and fined $1,000, prosecutors said.
• Larry Langford, 72, the former mayor of Birmingham, Ala., convicted in 2009 of taking bribes, has been released from prison after a federal judge reduced his sentence from 15 years to time served because he has a terminal illness.
• Steve Leonard, police chief of Randleman, N.C., said a 5-year-old is in critical condition after shooting himself in the face in a restaurant drive-thru using a .45-caliber pistol that his father had placed in a rear pocket of a passenger seat while cleaning the car.
• Danny Alvarez, spokesman for the Hillsborough County, Fla., sheriff's office, said deputies made four arrests and recovered a truckload of stolen tequila valued at more than $500,000 that was taken from a Tampa-area truck stop when the driver stopped for dinner.
• Keith Havard, sheriff of George County, Miss., said five people ranging in age from 17 to their mid-30s were rescued after becoming stranded on the banks of the Mississippi River when water conditions became rough enough to capsize their canoes.
• Larry Hadfield, a spokesman for Las Vegas police, said a search is underway for a woman accused of using a stolen rental car to run over and kill a nail salon worker as the woman drove off after failing to pay for a $35 manicure.
• Alison Gu, 42, of Cheshire, Conn., was sentenced to 36 months in prison while Matthew Abel, 46, was sentenced to 6 months behind bars after being convicted of obtaining $1.6 million through fraudulent bank loans to buy homes in Vermont and four other states, prosecutors said.
• Lorena Tapia, president of the government council for the Galapagos Islands, said that the archipelago has banned most fireworks because the noise and explosions cause problems for the island's wildlife, including heart conditions and nervous stress.
A Section on 01/01/2019
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